Tactical Tailor

Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

In your firearms training always have realistic accuracy standards. Remember that accuracy will generally suffer in the real world for reasons beyond your control as well as the unpredictable nature of most encounters. If you train for minimum accuracy standards on the range expect even less when bullets start going both ways.”

-Larry Vickers
MSG, US Army (Ret)

Larry Vickers is a decorated US Army Special Forces veteran and national pistol champion. Mr. Vickers has nearly two decades of special operations experience (1st SFOD-D), much of which was spent as his unit’s Primary Firearms Instructor. In addition to his special operations accomplishments, his competitive shooting has yielded a 10th and 9th place finish in the 1993 and 1994 USPSA Limited Nationals as well as a 1st place finish in CDP class at the 2001 IDPA Mid-Winter Nationals at Smith & Wesson. Mr. Vickers is a founding member of IDPA. In addition to being a highly experienced operator and national pistol champion, Mr. Vickers is also one of the premier 1911 pistolsmiths in the country and his work has been featured in several firearms publications and on the cover of American Handgunner. In addition to all this, Mr. Vickers has served as a consultant and technical expert to the firearms industry. Mr. Vickers is featured on two new firearms, tactics, and accessories focused T.V. shows called Tactical Impact and Tactical Arms.


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5 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers”

  1. Dellis says:

    Mr. Vickers,

    Thank you for your time and efforts you have put forth to better educate and train your average Joe, like myself.

    Now in light of the horrible events in Dallas and the guy who is now the center of this, who received “training” from a Texas training facility, how do you “screen” individuals for training? If you do at all?

    I ask this because I will soon be involved in helping a friend train others and his worry is what just happened here in Dallas. Somone using what they learn in a harmful manner, against police and innocent citizens. Now I understand this is a rare case in the hundreds of thousands that have been trained throughout the States BUT this will become the issue with the media, “You mean there are places people can go and learn how to kill?!”

    So can a training facility reject some while accepting others and do so “legally” without falling under the label of being “racist homophobic microagression facilatators”??

    I also understand that this douche nozzle had his training 2 years ago but again, the media is gonna hit this hard and add it to the list of things the “Conservative backed NRA has allowed to fester in our backyards!” and they will push for more restrictions if not all out shutting down of such schools.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this, if at all possible.


    • Mr.E.G. says:

      A couple of thoughts on what you said. When I first read that he received training from a local GI-bro academy, I was a little alarmed. However, I looked into the school that he attended, and it appears that they’re just a martial arts type self defense school, not a gun fighting school, at least based on what I could find with a Google search. I don’t claim to know for sure, but my gut tells me that the media is playing fast and loose with this topic, implying that he received weapons training, when in fact the “combat school” he went to may actually teach hand-to-hand combat.

      But here’s the more important point: it shouldn’t matter. Now, I don’t mean that in the hyper conservative sense of “it shouldn’t matter because all lawsuits are bull crap and trial lawyers are the devil.” I mean that as someone who makes his living in the legal profession, someone who is a stalwart defender of he 7th ammendment, someone who knows negligence law like the back of his hand, and someone who thoroughly believes in the positive impact on society that lawsuits have when properly aimed against genuinely negligent individuals or businesses who hurt innocent people.

      Under any theory of negligence that could be applicable to such “advanced” firearms training, the central questions that a jury would need to answer is whether or not providing such training to civilians in general is negligent conduct and whether or not providing training to any particular student is negligent conduct. I like to think I know Texas juries pretty well, and I can imagine some areas of Texas where the answer to question 1 could be yes, but they are few and far between, and no appellate court in Texas would let that stand. Not a chance. Should it make it to the Texas Supreme Court, I feel infinitely more confident that the plaintiffs would lose. I would call such a theory of liability fairly far-fetched. Our firm would not take a case on the basis that some school taught weapons training to someone who then used the training, unless we learned that they were teaching skills that only have an illegal use. So, if this school is teaching students how to do drive-bys, how to sneak a gun into an airport, how to shoot police officers in order to bypass their armor, or where to aim at children to inflict the most harm, the that’s totally different. But just teaching someone how to survive a gunfight is not something that would be construed by most Texas jurors as negligence. Further, every instructor I know of is legitimately driven by a calling to teach good guys how to stop bad guys, not to just make a buck by teaching lethatilty in general. That makes for an easier defense in court.

      As to question 2, this is a perfectly legitimate theory of liability. If a student walks into a gun class and makes it clear that he wants to learn how to shoot so that he can rob banks, shoot up a school, go to war against the lizard people who live in the desert and control the world’s money supply, etc., then of course it behooves the trainer to fire that student. In that respect, a firearms trainer is no different than a firearms dealer. If a customer asks a gun store clerk which gun is best for shooting cops, it would unquestionably be negligent for them to sell a gun to that customer. The same thing holds true for training.

      I was actually chatting with my shooting instructor about this yesterday. He is looking to expand his school and he’s reasonably concerned about accidentally training a psychopath to do something horrible. What we came up with is pretty simple. Offer an introductory class to evaluate your students’ skills and only invite people who appear well balanced (as seen through the eyes of a reasonably prudent person) n opportunity to learn more advanced techniques. I can only imagine that Larry Vickers, Paul Howe, etc. aren’t teaching combat techniques to complete strangers, if for no other reason than you want to have an opportunity to make sure the student your’re running around with knows how to use his gun. If I’m wrong about that and they really will let anyone who can fog a mirror show up and learn advanced tactics, I’d say that is a horrible idea. Not just because of the possibility that you’re training a crazy person, but in terms of general safety. Just the same way that instructors should take precautions to keep unsafe students out of their advanced classes, they should also take precautions to keep crazy students out of their advanced classes. The best way to do that is to make the advanced classes by invitation only, and only available to students who exhibit the requisite skills in a lower level class.

      With respect to concerns over discrimination, that one’s easy. Weird people are not a protected class. Discriminate away; it’s allowed. If you don’t let them take your class because they’re Chinese, that’s different and you deserve to get taken to task.

      To circle back to the discussion of liability, even if a jury feels that either of the questions above result in a negligence finding in the abstract, that still won’t necessarily translate into a finding of negligence as a matter of procedure. You see, in order for negligent conduct to technically be negligent conduct, you must also establish that the alleged misconduct was the proximate cause, the one causal factor that without that gator being present the whole thing would have turned out differently, of the injuries sustained. Therefore, even if you can find a Texas jury that will agree that training this student is negligence, it still gets weighed against the other factors. This could only result in a partial finding a fault, and may very well result in no finding of fault at all. That may be no small comfort for the owner of the school this guy attended (if in fact he actually attended a school that taught him anything germane to the attack on the officers), but it it’s a safe bet that the owner of this school isn’t going to get tagged with a 20 million dollar judgment.

      Notwithstanding all of that, we’re still talking about the family members of Texas police officers, the majority of which are pro 2A. I could see them suing whatever group this guy swears allegiance to sooner than I could see them suing this school, unless the school actually did turn a blind eye to obvious signs that should have told them not to train the guy.

      • Mr.E.G. says:

        Also, I feel that analogies are helpful. If someone went to a school to learn how to engage in kinky bondage play and then that person later raped someone, I think most reasonable people would be able to pick up on the differences between a school that teaches something extreme that is to be used in a lawful way and a school that teaches someone to use the extreme subject matter to specifically do something bad. Sure, maybe a lot of people are freaked out at the idea of kinky bondage school, but they can probably appreciate that it’s not tantamount to rape school. Ditto firearms training.

  2. Dellis says:

    Thanks for the in-depth reply!

    A good deal to read and digest

    • Mr.E.G. says:

      My pleasure. Also, sorry for the typos. I will never be smarter than autocorrect, apparently.